Most people go to nursing homes to receive the care and attention they need. Sadly, in many cases, things do not work out that way. Largely because of nursing home overcrowding, about 60 percent of nursing home residents sustain serious falls. A majority of these people can no longer live independently after they fall.
A Weatherford personal injury attorney may be able to obtain substantial compensation in these cases. That compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Causes Nursing Home Falls?
The over-65 population has increased significantly since the 1990s. As a general rule, the nursing home industry was not ready to cope with this increase.
Because of this overcrowding, many nursing homes are dangerously understaffed, especially on weekends, holidays, and other low census periods. Once upon a time, patient care techns were available to help residents get in and out of bed. Now, that's no longer the case. So, the risk of a serious fall is very high. That's especially true if, as is often the case, the rails are set high to keep the resident from falling out of bed.
Also because of this overcrowding, many nursing homes are almost constantly under construction. That means lots of wet spots, uneven floors, and other construction-related hazards.
Many older people suffer from Age-related Macular Degeneration. Small fatty deposits obscure their straight-ahead vision. They simply cannot see such hazards very well. Moreover, many nursing home residents are physically frail. So, when they fall, they fall hard.
The nursing home owner is generally responsible for fall-related injuries. To establish liability, victim/plaintiffs must establish duty and knowledge.
In Texas, legal duty usually depends on the relationship between the victim and property owner. Nursing home residents are invitees. They have permission to be on the land, and their presence benefits the owner. Because of the close relationship, the nursing home owner has a high duty.
Additionally, victim/plaintiffs must also establish knowledge of the hazard. Sometimes, there is a restroom cleaning report or other "smoking gun." Such evidence usually surfaces during the discovery period.
In other situations, victim/plaintiffs may use circumstantial evidence to establish constructive knowledge. This evidence usually involves the time/notice rule. The longer the hazard existed, the more likely it is that the owner should have known about it.
Nursing home owners are usually financially responsible for nursing home falls. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.